Posted by: billpurdue | April 16, 2008

Edition 4

Jacqueline Wilson does it again

Yes, another book from the popular teenage writer Jacqueline Wilson has been in the bestseller lists for many weeks: My Sister Jodie (1) is about two sisters who are just like chalk and cheese, but when their parents take up new jobs, things begin to change. I don’t need to tell you how good it is, just  read rave reviews about it on the BBC Shop website, at Amazon and Waterstone’s websites and at

Jacqueline Wilson has written many books for teenagers and younger kids, all with very attractive covers by Nick Sharratt. Her most well known character is probably Tracy Beaker. For Tracy fans, click here for access to two different web sites. There’s also a special Jacqueline Wilson online fan club .  Jacqueline is very deserving of  her OBE in 2002 for services to literacy in schools and her damehood this year. I heartily agree with her recent comments reported widely in the news (click here for the BBC story) about the fact that children are not being allowed to have a proper childhood

NYR again

The people at the National Year of Reading HQ have set up a discussion forum which anyone can join. Just click here and have your say.


Oddest title of the year

The Diagram group has announced the winner of the oddest book title of the year – it’s If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs. It’s a self help manual by an American writer called Big Boom (!!) Out of eight and a half thousand votes cast online, it got a third of the total. My favourite: I was tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen came second with 20% of the votes. The prize has been awarded every year since 1978 and a book about the competition How to Avoid Huge Ships and Other Implausibly Titled Books is due out this September (2).

A novel for Labrador owners?

I wasn’t sure I would like this book: The last Family in England tells how an average, “normal”, suburban dwelling family with a Labrador pet dog gradually begins to fall apart. What sets this book apart is that it’s narrated by the dog – he’s called Prince by the way.. Prince and his Labrador friend, Henry, whom he meets in the park during his daily walkies, believe in the Labrador Pact which says that the Labrador is in control of the family and can save it from collapse,no matter what. The family is hit by a number of crises including infidelity and attempted suicide, but Prince does whatever he can to keep the family together. I won’t tell you if he succeeds, but I would recommend this as a really good read. I found it slow going at first, but soon became hooked and the more I read, the harder it was to put down. Dogs – as every dog owner will tell you – know much more than you think and this book tries to prove it


(1) My Sister Jodie  by Jacqueline Wilson   Doubleday £12.99  9780385610124

(2) How to Avoid Huge Ships and Other Implausibly Titled Books.  Aurum Press £9.99 (Sept. 2008) 9781845133214


(3) The Wrong Kind of Snow  by Antony Woodward and Robert Penn  Hodder and Stoughton  £14.99  9780340937877


(4) The last Family in England by Matt Haig   Vintage 9780099468455


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